There was drama as the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) told the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal (PEPT) on Thursday, June 13, that it had no server to be inspected by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, over the conduct of the presidential election which held on February 23.
Atiku and PDP had filed an application seeking access to inspect the server and data of smart card readers used by INEC in the conduct of the election.
Atiku’s lead counsel, Chief Chris Uche (SAN), who moved the motion for the inspection of INEC’s server and other electoral materials, said the request was essential to their petition challenging the declaration of President Buhari as the winner of the election.
The INEC counsel, Yunus Usman (SAN), however, vehemently opposed the application for the inspection of the server. According to Usman, the application should be dismissed because, “We do not have a server.”
On their part, President Muhammadu Buhari , the APC and INEC urged the PEPT to reject Atiku’s and PDP’s request to be allowed access to INEC’s server and card reader machines.
Buhari argued that granting the request would amount to the tribunal overruling itself, having earlier, in a ruling delivered on March 6, rejected a similar request made by Atiku and PDP.
According to the ruling party, the petition was defective, ab initio, because the PDP candidate “is not a Nigerian by birth.”
Atiku and the PDP had in the petition, urged the tribunal to declare him as the lawful winner of the February 23, 2019 presidential election.
While responding to the petitioners’ motion seeking the striking out of APC’s reply to the petition, counsel to the ruling party, Lateef Fagbemi (SAN), called on the tribunal to declare Atiku ineligible to run for the presidency.